Most caregivers are stretched thin – emotionally, financially and with time. Unfortunately, if you’re already stretched thin financially, it can be difficult to pay for services that save you time, but you don’t have a lot of time to get things done.
Regardless of how busy you are, there are still things you need to do to keep your home running smoothly. If you’re like me, you probably don’t have a lot of time to become an extreme couponer, or even a couponer, so how can you save money on groceries and simplify your life with limited effort?
I confess, I clip coupons, however, I never remember to take them with me. I have so many little things running through my head that remembering the coupons usually falls out. I tend to remember about 10 minutes after I’ve paid for my groceries, which obviously, does me no good.
Here are my grocery shortcuts that have saved me time and money, even without the coupons:
Toiletries and Cleaning Products
I rarely shop for toiletries and cleaning products at the grocery store, unless I am completely out and don’t have time to hit two stores. While I am not a grocery shopping mastermind who keeps a price book, I do notice that items like toothpaste, cleaning products, face wash, etc. tend to be cheaper at stores other than my regular grocery store. Here’s how I maximize the savings.
I usually wait for a CVS 20% coupon and stock up on many of my toiletries so that I can save big without a lot of effort. They are mailed every month or so and I have also found them in the newspaper. If you don’t have a CVS Extra Care card, you should definitely sign up for one. You will be eligible for discounts and Extra Bucks, which is basically a cash back reward. If I’m really organized, I combine manufacturer coupons with the 20% off coupon for even better savings. I have managed to save at least $15 in one shop.
I recently started shopping at the Dollar Store for candy – full disclosure, I am a sugar addict. While shopping, I noticed that my name-brand toothpaste is sold at the dollar store. Big win! I save around $1 – $2 on toothpaste and since it doesn’t expire, I pick up several tubes so I don’t have to make a return trip until my candy stash runs out. Check your local dollar store for brands you always use to save money. If the items don’t expire, you can buy in bulk to save time. I had many customers who did the majority of their grocery shopping at the dollar store. Did you know many carry fresh produce, milk and a large selection of frozen foods?
My new favorite way to save money on groceries has been to do the majority of my shopping at Target. I saved $30 on my groceries just yesterday. It definitely takes more work to get the big savings, but it has paid off.
First, my husband and I applied for a Target Red Card, which saves us 5% off everything we spend at Target. We have the debit card that is linked to our bank account so that we don’t get hit with an unexpected credit card bill. We shop there a lot, so this is a big savings for us. In addition to a Red Card, I downloaded the free Target Cartwheel app on my phone. My family tries to eat mostly organic protein, dairy and produce and even with those high-cost items, we are saving money on our groceries.
Target regularly updates the Cartwheel app with new specials and you can add up to 16 for each shopping trip. Before I go to the store, I check the app to see if anything I need is on sale. This week, I saved 15% on Reese’s eggs (sugar addict, checking in again), 25% off Danimals kid’s smoothies for my son, 25% off Tropicana orange juice, 15% off organic string cheese, 20% off Ocean Spray juice and 5% off organic eggs, to name a few.
I basically choose items we already buy and have to remember to pull out my phone, but it saves me at least $5 – $10 on average. This week, Target also had a special $10 gift card with $50 grocery purchase if you sent them a text (easy-to-follow signs were in the grocery aisles), so I now have $10 to save off my next purchase.
Between the Red Card and Cartwheel, my family is saving a fairly significant amount, particularly since we buy mostly organic foods, which Target now carries.
I’m not sure what the Costco is like in your community, but in mine, it is an extremely unpleasant shopping experience. There is limited parking and the store is overcrowded, particularly on weekends. That being said, there are some major savings to be had, so I brave it once every 2-3 months and stock up.
Since I’m not shopping there regularly, and I have a small family, I don’t purchase produce there, although they do now stock an impressive organic selection. I purchase groceries that can be frozen, so they will last a while.
Did you know Costco carries organic proteins? I usually purchase a multi-pack of organic ground beef and chicken for close to what I would pay for one package at the grocery store. I also purchase a few frozen meals for those times when I just can’t get dinner on the table. My family’s favorites are the frozen chicken meatballs, tortellini and ravioli and the egg white quiche. We also occasionally buy bread or bagels and freeze them as well. Unfortunately, we don’t have a large freezer, so we have to be mindful of space.
I will admit that I haven’t used Amazon Prime Pantry, but I have several friends who swear by it. Regardless of whether you are an Amazon Prime member, you will still need to pay the $5.99 delivery charge for Prime Pantry and it is shipped by ground, so it will not be delivered in 2 days. The benefit to using Prime Pantry is the cost savings on the items you purchase, particularly if you shop the items that are on sale. You can take advantage of the specials they are running – currently they have 30% off certain items – and you can check the coupons and deals sections for extra savings.
Prime Pantry seems like a great solution for a long distance caregiver who is shopping for their parent remotely. You would be able to purchase the heavy items such as dishwasher or laundry detergent and non-perishables so that your parent won’t have to go shopping as frequently.
I have been wanting to try Amazon Subsribe and Save for a while, but to be honest, I haven’t had the time to determine which items we can purchase through this program and how often to schedule them to save money. Once you work this out, you can save up to 15% and receive free shipping. You can set up a subscription for anything from toilet paper to granola bars. If there is a product you or your parent use frequently, you can consider setting this up so that you can reduce your grocery trips. Just off the top of my head, I could probably set up my granola bars, fruit pouches for my youngest son, coffee and diapers since we go through those quickly and regularly. What could you set up?
And finally, if you are really pressed for time or are shopping for your parent remotely, you can use Amazon Prime Now for grocery delivery within two hours. In my area, they shop at Sprouts, which is where my family usually shops anyway and we were extremely happy with our groceries. You can read about my experience with Prime Now and other caregiving shortcuts for other tips to save time and money.
Do you have shopping shortcuts that save you money?
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